Collaborative Family Law
Collaborative family law, also known as collaborative practice, provides an alternative to litigation for couples who want to separate and/or divorce amicably and respectfully. The goal of collaborative family law is to allow you, as separating parties, to work with each other, your respective lawyers and other third-party specialists to reach a mutually acceptable solution for the issues stemming from the breakdown of your relationship. This method of alternative dispute resolution aims to encourage you to work together instead of against one another. Unlike with mediation, where a neutral third party guides the process towards conflict resolution, here you, as the separating parties, and your lawyers work out the differences amongst yourselves. The resolutions are then incorporated into a valid and binding agreement.
Robert became a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals in 2015. As a collaborative lawyer, Robert will act as a support or coach offering advice to his clients when a legal issue arises. His goal is to ensure that the process stays balanced, positive and productive as he helps guide the parties to the best possible settlement, which maintains and promotes his clients and their children’s rights.
Benefits to collaborative family law
- Allows you to avoid going to court and to protect your children and yourselves from the stress associated with litigation;
- Allows parties to remain amicable, maintain open communication and information sharing, and retain control over the decision-making in their situation;
- Ensures both parties have all the information required to make the necessary decisions and that the negotiations remain constructive and capture the interests of both parties;
- Creates customized solutions that consider the priorities of both parties;
- Avoids excessive financial costs or formalities associated with litigation;
- Quicker and more efficient than litigation;
- Encourages the participation of third-party specialists who can help provide information or plans to address the parties particular issues and concerns during the four-way meetings. Outside experts such as divorce coaches, childcare, financial and real estate specialists, psychological experts and other professionals with the experience needed for the particular family situation.
Is collaborative family law right for you?
Collaborative family law is not for every separating or divorcing couple. If your marriage breakdown occurs as a result of adultery or abuse, it may be very difficult for you and the other party to sit down together and collaboratively come up with solutions to the issues identified. There will often be feelings of animosity, fear, or hostility in this scenario, which run counter to the tenets of collaborative family law. If you lack confidence in the ability of your partner to be honest, amicable, and/or participative, or if you yourself are not open to respectful participation, then collaborative family law may not be the right choice for you. In this circumstance, you and your partner may alternatively wish to jointly retain a mediator and separately retain a lawyer to provide independent legal advice during the mediation process and to respectively advocate your independent needs and rights outside the court system. Or you can take a look at our other services offered at Shawyer Family Law and Mediation PC.